How do you use the energy of flowing water, such as in a stream or river, to pump water to a height far higher than the source of the water? How do you do that without electricity, without solar power, just using the moving water? A device that does just that was invented in 1746 by Wirtz of Switzerland. It was largely forgotten when steam power and later electrical power came along, but it has seen a resurgence of interest among people trying to use simple technology in the U.S. and also in developing countries.
Its called a Wirtz pump, and is also known as a spiral pump, a river pump, or coil pump, this amazing piece of technology was a little difficult to fabricate in the 18th and 19th century, but with readily available tubing it is easily and cheaply made today.
In the version in Figure A (from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations) above, tubing is arranged in a vertical spiral, with the outside end of the tubing situated to fill with water at each revolution. As the spiral turns (supported and driven by a waterwheel), water and air are moved along the tubing toward the center outlet pipe. Water and air are pumped out of the outlet pipe and can be lifted quite a ways above and away from the water source. No energy other than slowly moving water of a stream, river, or ditch are needed. A version of this with a 6' diameter coil of 1.25" tubing, puts out 3900 gal. per day of water, at a 40' head. Pumping water to a 70' head, 700 ' from the water source are known.
The version of the device in Figure B has the tubing arranged in a coil around a barrel or cone. In this configuration the pump can work in stationary water. The coil of tubing can be turned manually which causes water to be pumped out.
The version below is similar to the version shown in Figure B, but it has a bullet shaped housing, and an attached propeller that causes the bullet to rotate in moving water current. As the barrel rotates in the water current, water is pumped out the tubing, through a connection that has hose attached. These are sold commercially as the Rife River pump. Diagram courtesy of Rife River Pump. These pumps can pump to a 82' head, and some installations run 1/2 inch poly pipe out to 400' from the water source.
A great video of this pump in action is found here: